Coming off a big win over the Bishop’s Gaiters, Concordia’s men’s basketball team had two more tough games this past week against McGill and UQÀM. On Thursday night, at home against the Redmen, the Stingers won a tightly contested game. Concordia dropped the next game against the Citadins two days later.
It was not the best of opening quarters for the Stingers against the Redmen. McGill started the game with a three-pointer and kept a lead until the second quarter. Concordia’s offence was struggling early on. The maroon and gold missed most of their shots and had a tough time finding open looks.
It was the opposite on defence. The Stingers’ man-to-man defence was passive, allowing McGill easy drives and open three-ball attempts. McGill had a 16-11 point lead after the first 10 minutes. Guard Kyle Desmarais had six of Concordia’s 11 points.
The second quarter was much better for the home team. In the early minutes, the Stingers tightened up their defence and denied McGill easy points.
“What usually gets us going is our defence,” said Desmarais, who finished with 21 points. “I mean, when we’re doing well on defence, we’re usually doing great on offence. That’s what got us going in the second quarter.”
On offence, Concordia regained control and eventually led, when forward Kafil Eyitayo’s jump shot gave his side a one-point lead with 7:24 on the clock. In the final three minutes of the quarter, ConU scored six unanswered points to go up 29-24 at halftime.
Offensively, the Stingers were even stronger in the third quarter, amassing 19 points. After scoring four points in the first half, forward Evens Laroche scored six straight points. At 7:28, Desmarais fed Laroche for an emphatic alley-oop dunk. This gave Concordia momentum as McGill got a technical foul and Eyitayo completed two massive blocks in the following minutes.
McGill did not back down from Concordia’s sturdy offensive output. The Redmen kept up and scored 16 points of their own in the third quarter. However, the Stingers led 48-40 going into the final frame.
The visitors upped the pressure in the fourth quarter and quickly found themselves right in the mix again. In the first six and a half minutes, Concordia only scored three points. They turned the ball over six times and missed a few shots in this same span. The Stingers saw their 11 points disappear after McGill went on an 11-0 run to tie the game.
With 3:19 remaining, Jerome Blake put Concordia ahead with a clutch three-pointer. This was his second of the quarter. Desmarais scored the team’s next four points with a basket and two free-throws.
McGill answered back with two baskets and a free-throw to tie the game with 62 seconds to play.
Thirty seconds later, Laroche put the Stingers ahead with a tough shot.
With one last possession, McGill were desperately seeking the equalizer. The Redmen worked the ball in through the middle, but Eyitayo came up with another huge block.
Concordia held on to the slim 62-60 victory.
“Right now, we were fighting for the first place,” said Laroche. “We wanted it and they wanted, so it was a big battle. They came out hard and we came out hard.”
Concordia followed this game up with a 65-58 loss to the UQÀM Citadins on Saturday.
The Stingers will hit the court twice this coming week against McGill, once again, on Friday night and against Laval on Saturday.